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Family, obligations, and migration


  • Annett Fleischer

    (Max-Planck-Institut für Demografische Forschung)


The aim of this paper is to investigate the influence of family and kin networks on the individual decision to migrate. The study is based on qualitative ethnographic data which was collected during a field research in Cameroon in spring 2005, showing the considerable impact of the extended family on the migrant’s choice to leave Cameroon for Germany. Migrants do not solely move for their own achievements and purposes, but rather as significant members of their entire immediate family. The individual is part of an informal reciprocal system of exchange which is based on trust and has social consequences, and includes duties and responsibilities for both sides.

Suggested Citation

  • Annett Fleischer, 2007. "Family, obligations, and migration," Demographic Research, Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research, Rostock, Germany, vol. 16(13), pages 413-440, May.
  • Handle: RePEc:dem:demres:v:16:y:2007:i:13

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Hendrik Dalen & George Groenewold & Jeannette Schoorl, 2005. "Out of Africa: what drives the pressure to emigrate?," Journal of Population Economics, Springer;European Society for Population Economics, vol. 18(4), pages 741-778, November.
    2. Timothy J. Hatton & Jeffrey G. Williamson, 2003. "Demographic and Economic Pressure on Emigration out of Africa," Scandinavian Journal of Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 105(3), pages 465-486, September.
    3. Stark, Oded & Lucas, Robert E B, 1988. "Migration, Remittances, and the Family," Economic Development and Cultural Change, University of Chicago Press, vol. 36(3), pages 465-481, April.
    4. Gertrud Schrieder & Beatrice Knerr, 2000. "Labour Migration as a Social Security Mechanism for Smallholder Households in Sub-Saharan Africa: The Case of Cameroon," Oxford Development Studies, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 28(2), pages 223-236.
    5. Massey, Douglas S., 2005. "Worlds in Motion: Understanding International Migration at the End of the Millennium," OUP Catalogue, Oxford University Press, number 9780199282760.
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    More about this item


    anthropology; Cameroon; family networks; migration;

    JEL classification:

    • J1 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics
    • Z0 - Other Special Topics - - General


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